Oh my gosh! This place is absolutely stunning, so stunning in fact that my explanation won't even do it justice. I think the Grand Canyon is just one of those marvels that everyone has to experience for themselves, an encounter that will take on a unique meaning for each person. For me, it was quite a spiritual experience. I was moved by the fact that the same God who took on such a grandiose and magnificent creation still knows every detail about me and concerns himself with every aspect of my life. It was both deeply humbling and exalting at the same time, I highly recommend you each carve some time out to go and take this in for yourself, not just the view but the experience, the perspective and the essence of the Canyon, whatever that may mean for you.
Below are some awesome images from my trip. You'll also find a list of helpful tips and tricks to consider when planning for your own Canyon adventure, things like: traveling there, finding a reputable tour operator, what to bring, what to expect and more! So without further delay, enjoy the Grand Canyon!
Things to Consider While Planning Your Grand Canyon Adventure
SOUTH OR WEST RIM
Bear in mind, the Grand Canyon is so large that it can be seen from outer space. That being said, you should first narrow it down which region you would like to see. It is anchored by Visitors Centers at the West Rim and South Rim. Both are beautiful and worth visiting. I traveled to the West Rim, mostly due to proximity to Las Vegas and to save time traveling. From Las Vegas, the West Rim is 122 miles away or 2 h 38 minutes while the South Rim is 274 miles away or 4 hours 53 minutes. More info on that here.
You can drive, fly, or ride to Vegas by bus or train. The closest airport to the West Rim is is Las Vegas' McCarran airport. You can also take a MegaBus or Boltbus to Vegas from LA and most other large cities in teh area. On my trip, we traveled into Vegas on Memorial Day, spent some time enjoying the city, then booked our bus tour for the following morning. If you prefer to fly, keep your eyes peeled as Southwest sometimes has specials for as low as $49 from LA to Vegas. Bus tickets can be as low as $1 if you book early enough. On average, the most they'll be is are about $18 to $25 if you book even a few days before. Mine was about. You can also check Wanderu or use Google for a more inclusive list of local carriers
CHOOSING A TOUR
There are bus tours, smaller jeep tours, and even private helicopter tours. Utilize TripAdvisor, Yelp and Google to do research. Ask for recommendations from locals of Nevada and Arizona including Las Vegas. I chose Grand Canyon Destinations' bus tour of the West Rim because they seemed professional and organized. They also had details on their website such as the stops on the tour, approximate return time, and what type of food would be provided. They absolutely exceeded expectations and our tour guide was really engaging and informative! My ticket was $117 for approximate 12 hour day trip, but I've also seen it on Groupon for $109. The South Rim tour, while longer at about 15 hours, is a little cheaper at just under $100.
WHAT TO BRING
1) Gatorade, Powerade and Electrolyte Water
I can' t stress this enough. We traveled the day after Memorial Day and the temperature was already at a high of 96 degrees. GCD did provide unlimited water but you will definitely need an electrolyte beverage to replace those nutrients lost while sweating. The stores at the Grand Canyon had some available and the bus tour also stopped at convenience areas on the way.
2) Comfortable shoes
There is a lot of rocky and gravelly terrain. You will want to keep those feet protected while climbing up hills and kicking up dust. You don't need heavy duty hiking gear but at least a pair of sneakers. I wore my vans : )
3) Snacks and a hearty lunch
Again, our tour provided this for us but if you are traveling on your own, it's better to have extra food than not enough. You'd be surprised how much energy you burn just exploring in the heat. For those who are curious, our tour provided a Nutri Grain bar and water when we boarded the bus, then lunch included our choice of a fresh-made sandwich (ham, turkey or vegetarian), a bag of chips, an apple, a Nature's Valley granola bar, and a mint.
4) Sunscreen & Protective Layers
The desert heat is like no other. Hats, visors, and lots of sunscreen are must haves. I'd even suggest lightweight, long-sleeve garments if your skin is sensitive to burning.
5) A fully charged phone + portable charger
You'll definitely want to capture every moment. There are limited opportunities to charge your phone at rest centers along the route or at the Visitor's Centers on site, but you will waste time that could be spent exploring. While we're on the topic of phones, note that cell service was limited or unavailable at parts of the canyon.
6) A positive attitude and lots of energy!
This is a breathtaking experience. Come with a good night's rest, a great attitude, and a child-like sense of awe and wonder! Enjoy, babes!
Do you have any more tips or suggestions on what to pack? Let me know in the comments below.